But more and more it seems the reaction to loss and the sin we see is less about grief than it is about blaming others. I find it interesting that we see people being blamed for tragic events before we even fully understand what has happened. We see people using tragic events to point out how others are wrong, and they are right.
I do think people should be held accountable. But I wonder when our immediate response to loss is to try to find someone to blame and punish rather than grieving, it might be indicating a problem with our hearts.
For Henri Nouwen responding to loss by grieving rather than lashing out leads us to be more compassionate. He writes:
“It might sound strange to consider grief as a way to compassion. But it is. Grief asks me to allow the sins of the world—mine own included—to pierce my heart and make me shed tears, many tears for them. There is no compassion without many tears. …
When I consider the immense waywardness of God’s children, our lust, our greed, our violence, our anger, our resentment, and when I look at them through the eyes of God’s heart, I cannot but weep and cry out in grief.” (From The Return of the Prodigal Son)
Henri Nouwen believed grieving was praying. He thought we had too few mourners. True, godly grief is a spiritual discipline. It helps us to see loss and sin more deeply and our need for God’s comfort and forgiveness more clearly.
who lives forever, whose name is holy, says:
I live on high, in holiness,
and also with the crushed and the lowly,
reviving the spirit of the lowly,
reviving the heart of those who have been crushed.
Isaiah 57:15 (CEB)
My hope is that we might be as open to grieving loss and sin as we are to immediately blaming and punishing others. Our grief may end up motivating us to take righteous action, but it is in their breaking that our hearts become more compassionate, forgiving, and loving to others. In their breaking, God can make our hearts more like Jesus’ heart.